Sea Stars

Sea Stars18″x24″

Sea Stars
Dwarf Mottled Henricia
– (larger)
Henricia pumila 

and 

Six-Rayed Sea Star – (smaller)
Leptasterias hexactis

Marine_7-07_09505

Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington

Archival Pigment Print

Sea stars are a diverse group of predators and scavengers that play important roles in marine ecosystems worldwide. Known to eat everything from mussels and clams to sea anemones and even other sea stars, most have the remarkable ability to turn their stomachs inside out and extrude them from their mouths. The advantage? The stomach can squeeze into spaces as narrow as one-tenth of a millimeter across (for example, between the two shells of a clam) and begin digesting tissues while it’s outside the sea star’s body. The sea star then brings the meat, partially broken down, into its body for further digestion and absorption.